Step By Step To A Bronco Victory

The WAC Track & Field Championships kick into high gear Friday with a full day of action. Louisiana Tech is the favorite, but for Boise State to capture the WAC Commissioner's Cup, the Bronco women may need to win. Here's what needs to happen in Fresno.

With the 2006-07 Western Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup race coming down to the wire, we're breaking down this weekend's women's WAC Track & Field meet. 

 

Currently, Nevada is projected to win the cup by five points.  We've pointed out that for Boise State to wrest the Cup away, the Boise State men must win the WAC this weekend and the women must defeat Nevada by three places.  The Nevada softball team lost last night as expected (4-0 to New Mexico State).  They play #7 seed Louisiana Tech today.  If Nevada wins, they will score the projected number of points in that event.  A loss by the Wolf Pack would subtract 1 ½ points from their total.

 

Here are the projected women's team scores.  Boise State must find 34 points to win the WAC.

 

  1. Louisiana Tech—152
  2. Boise State—118
  3. Nevada—115
  4. Idaho—115
  5. Utah State—110
  6. Hawai'i—105
  7. Fresno State—83
  8. New Mexico State--22

 

Here is this weekend's schedule for the WAC Track & Field Championships in Fresno:

 

100—Louisiana Tech has the top three seeds (Latonia Wilson, Lasadies McClain and Shannon Williams).  Utah State's Amber Peterson is 4th, followed by Nevada's Shaina Wright, Tech's Sophia Jackson and Rayna White of Fresno State in a tie, Tech's Rakeisha Green and Boise State's Megan Olivetti. 

 

If Boise State is to somehow defeat Louisiana Tech, the Lady Bulldogs cannot dominate the sprints the way they are expected to.  Looking at the track meet from a Commissioner's Cup viewpoint, Bronco fans are also pulling for Idaho, Utah State and Hawai'i to defeat Nevada.  In the 100, then, Amber Peterson needs to finish second or third—Wilson has nearly half a second on the rest of the field.  Olivetti is only 6/100th's of a second behind Wright of Nevada and is not projected to score.  Obviously, if Olivetti can finish ahead of Wright it would be huge.  Not only would she score points for her team, but she would also take a point or two away from Nevada.  This is a key race for the Bronco women.

 

200—Wilson, McClain, Williams and Jackson are 1-2-3-4 in this one.  Olivetti is the 5th seed in the 200, and must defeat one or more of those Techster's for Boise State to have any kind of shot at the WAC title.  The Broncos also might need Peterson of Utah State (#6 seed) to sneak in and beat one of the Tech runners.  Wright is tied for #6 and a finish outside the top eight would cost the Wolf Pack two points.  Christina Lopez of Fresno State is eighth seed.

 

400—This is Boise State's best chance to beat Tech.  There are three Bulldog runners in the top eight, and three Broncos.  Nina Gilbert of Tech is the top seed, followed by Peterson of Utah State, Nerisha Phillip of Boise State, Tech's Kamelia Story, Boise State's Paige Olivetti and Kayleen McDowell, Fresno State's Renee Winston and Louisiana Tech's Miriam Barnes.  Boise State is projected to get 13 points to 16 for Tech.  The Broncos need to score heavily here, probably three of the top five places.  Peterson needs to do well to give the Aggies a chance to beat Nevada, another important result for Boise State. 

 

800—Kali Baker of Nevada is the favorite by two seconds.  Utah State's Amy Egan is the #2 seed, followed by Boise State's Kayleen McDowell, Utah State's Jennie Twitchell, Zinzi Evans of Fresno State, Beth Sandoval of New Mexico State and Nevada's LaNaya Wattree and Hannah Balkenbush.  Mark the 800 meters as another key race.  This is one of Nevada's strengths.  Utah State must do well but not good enough to finish ahead of Boise State.  The Broncos are only projected to score eight more points than the Aggies in the team race.  Thus, Kayleen McDowell needs to run the race of her life.  She is coming off a great performance in the Oregon Twilight in which she qualified for the NCAA Regionals.  McDowell needs a top two finish here.  Baker will likely finish in the top three, but Nevada must score no more than 10 points in this event.

 

1,500—Becky Guyette of Boise State has been running well as she closes out her Bronco career.  She is the fourth seed in the 1,500.  Nevada's Charlotte Schonbeck is top seed, followed closely by Utah State's Twitchell.  USU's Stacie Lifferth is 3rd, with Idaho's Dee Olson in fifth.  Boise State's Breanna Sande is sixth, followed by Nevada senior Kali Baker and Utah State's Caroline Berry.  New Mexico State's Beth Sandoval has a chance to score points by beating either Baker or Berry—either result would greatly help Boise State.  Sande must come through here with more than 3 points.  Guyette is one of the top WAC performers in the 1,500, 5000 & 10,000—it would be grueling to run all three and here is where the depth of the Bronco team hurts them.  Boise State needs two runners to score in this event.  It will be interesting to see what Coach Mike Maynard does here.  If Guyette skips this in favor of the two longer distances, Sande would have to win the 1,500, a tall order since she's six seconds behind Schonbeck.  The Broncos have little or no chance to win the team title if Nevada and Utah State score heavy here, and no chance to win the Commissioner's Cup by extension.  The decision by Maynard and the subsequent performance by the Bronco woman or women in the 1,500 are paramount.

 

5,000—As mentioned, Becky Guyette is the top seed in the 5,000 (by ten seconds).  Sande is the #2 seed by 9 seconds over Utah State's Caroline Berry.  You can see that the plot thickens.  If Guyette runs the 1,500 to help Boise State's team chances, she has to also run the 5,000 to get the 10 projected points.  Simply put, Boise State must score 18 points in this event—anything else would be a serious blow to their title hopes.  Nevada's Amanda Moreno is the fourth seed, followed by Idaho's Mandy Macalister, New Mexico State's Ann Gagliardi, Idaho's Rhea Richter and Fresno State's Meridith Hawkins.  The runner Bronco fans are pulling for is Gagliardi.  New Mexico State has zero chance of winning the team title, but if she can defeat Moreno or Macalister, it would keep both Nevada and Idaho from beating the Bronco women in the team score.

 

10,000—Guyette is the favorite here by eight seconds.  The Idaho trio of Macalister, Olson and Melissa McFadden is 3-4-5, followed by Fresno State's Jennifer Hernandez and Boise State's Meadow Braden.  Again, it would severely damage Boise State's team hopes if Guyette skipped the 10,000.  What better way to go out than to win the 5,000, 10,000 and finish strong in the1,500?  Her title would be "Iron Woman" if she can do it.  Braden is 33 seconds behind Hernandez.  There have only been six women to run the distance this year and likely Idaho and Utah State will have more performers entered.  In a championship meet, depth is important, and someone besides Guyette will have to step up in the 10,000.  Ideally, there would be 2-3 others that could place high in the 10,000 to give Guyette a break.  That is not the case. 

 

100-meter hurdles—Amber Peterson of Utah State is the favorite here, followed by Fresno State's Krystina Jackson, Idaho's Heather Bergland and Christie Gordon, Nevada's Analisa Serrano, Utah State's Ashlee Cannon, Ashley Land from Nevada and Hawai'i's Thalia Amanakis.  Boise State's Megan Olivetti is the ninth seed with Idaho freshman Darcy Collins in 10th.  Olivetti has to score here—she could finish as high as sixth, which would be four more points than the Broncos are projected to score.  Bronco fans will be pulling for Jackson here as Fresno has no chance to win the team title.  If Amanakis can get in and take some points away from Nevada and Utah State, that also would be great for Boise State.

 

400-meter hurdles—Peterson is the top seed here as well, with Barnes of Louisiana Tech and Amanakis close behind.  Nevada's Polly Smith is a distant fourth seed, followed by Fresno State's Erica McCoy, Idaho's Molly Burt and Fresno State's Jackson in a tie for 6th and Nevada's Rosana Medina the eighth seed. Amanakis could steal points from either Tech or Utah State with a top two finish.  McCoy and Jackson need to finish high ahead of Nevada and Idaho here as well.

 

3,000-meter Steeplechase—Stacie Lifferth of Utah State is the clear favorite here.  Idaho's Bevin Kennelly and Alix Lee-Painter are next and then there's a big drop-off.  Nevada's Natalia Jarawka and Christa Avena are the #4 and #5 seeds, respectively, followed by Chantelle Laan of Hawai'i, Sandoval of New Mexico State, Fresno State's Meridith Hawkins, Nevada's Mandy Russ and Fresno State's Marissa McPhail.  The Steeple represents a put up or shut up race for Boise State.  The WAC champion is able to score points in every event, yet Boise State has none of the top ten seeds.  The Broncos must be able to place a runner in the point total.  Other than that, the Broncos are hoping this race goes pretty much as expected.  A top five finish by either Laan or Sandoval would help the Broncos as well.

 

4 x 100 Relay—The Tech sprinters will likely combine for the WAC title here.  Nevada is a close second seed over Fresno State, followed by Utah State, Boise State, Idaho, New Mexico State and Hawai'i.  The Broncos are just 14/100th's of a second out of second.  A Boise State win over Nevada here would be at least a six-point turnaround.  This is another key race to watch not only for the WAC Track title but for the Commissioner's Cup.  If Boise State is to win either, the relay team must defeat Nevada. 

 

4 x 400-meter relay—Tech is the favorite here by 8 ½ seconds over Boise State.  That's a lot of ground to make up.  The Bronco women here should just concentrate on getting clear handoffs and finish in second place.  Fresno State is only three seconds behind as the #3 seed, and the important thing here is to finish second and get their 8 points.  Nevada is the fourth seed, followed by Utah State, Hawai'i and New Mexico State.  A USU finish ahead of Nevada would take one point away from the Wolf Pack.

 

High Jump—This is one of Hawai'i's best events.  The Rainbow Wahine are projected to finish 1st, tied for 2nd, 4th and 7th.  Emily Sheppard is the top seed with a jump of 5'10".  Mallory Gilbert and Boise State's Theodora Xylaki are the #2 seeds at 5'8.75".  Annett Wichmann of Hawai'i is fourth, followed by Utah State's Carrie Yost, Idaho's Darcy Collins and Breeana Chadez, Hawai'i's Amber Kaufman and Utah State's Tara Pickett.  Here's another opportunity for Boise State.  They need to pick up 34 points on Louisiana Tech, and the high jump represents an additional four points if Xylaki can win.  In addition to rooting for Xylaki here, Bronco fans are rooting for Hawai'i.  If they finish 2-3-4-5, it would be no problem, as they would take points away from Utah State and Idaho.

 

Pole Vault—One of Idaho's top events.  The Vandal women are already off to a good start after the heptathlon.  Idaho's Melinda Owen and K.C. Dahlgren are 1-2, followed by Utah State's Kat Duhadway.  A good result here would probably be for Duhadway to sneak into the top two.  Nevada's Bree Ann Piva is fourth, followed by Fresno State's Andrea Greenman and Samantha Modeste and Hawai'i's Jessica Trujillo and Samantha Weaver.  Boise State's Annelise Bertleson is ¼ inch out of the eighth position.  Both of Fresno State's vaulters could beat Piva and that would be a great result.  Bertleson really needs seventh place or better since the Broncos did not have a heptathletes.

 

Long Jump—Boise State's Eleni Kafourou either wins or the Broncos can count themselves out of the title chase.  She has 10.5 inches on the second place jumper.  Tech again owns 2-3-4 with Latoya Collins, Amber Metoyer and Christiana Tupper.  Nevada's Ashley Land is fifth, followed by Emily Sheppard and Annett Wichmann from Hawai'i and Nevada's Corinne Kuklovsky.  So you have a situation where Boise State is projected to get 10 points and yet the competition will get more points.  If Kafourou doesn't win, it will mean that a Tech jumper did, giving them even more points.  Ideally, one of the Rainbow Wahine jumpers could knock off a Techster, but they're nearly a foot behind.  They could sneak in and beat Land, however, which has Commissioner's Cup implications.

 

Triple Jump—Kafourou again is the favorite by 10 inches ahead of Collins and Tupper of Tech.  Nevada's Ashley Mathis is fourth, with teammate Sherena Smith fifth, followed by New Mexico State's Isabel Chea, Emily Kling of Idaho and Boise State's Theodora Xylaki.  Probably a stretch for Xylaki to finish much higher, because she's 10 inches behind the Idaho woman.  It would be nice if either Chea or Kling could beat out a Nevada jumper, but don't count on it.

 

Shot Put—Shaterika Allen of Louisiana Tech is the top seed with a huge lead on Mykael Bothum of Idaho.  Meghan Weaver of Hawai'i is a distant third.  The real competition is for the next spots between fourth seed Katie Richardson of Fresno State, Inger Appanaitis of Nevada, Hawai'i's Novelle Murray, Phelecia Reynolds of Tech and Nicole McClure of New Mexico State.  Boise State's Amber Tavares is 10th and again, if you want to win a championship, you have to score in every event.  Tavares is only two inches out of eighth place. 

 

Discus—Murray of Hawai'i is the favorite here with Katie Richardson close behind.  Reynolds is considerably behind those two as the #3 seed.  Weaver of Hawai'i is fourth, followed by teammate Alana Faagai, Idaho's Bothum, Brittani Daniels of Hawai'i and Tavares.  Tavares could sneak in for 7th, but she has to definitely score. 

 

Hammer—This is one of Boise State's better events and simply one that the Broncos need to pile up the points.  Annika Hjelm's top throw is 10 feet over Murray of Hawai'i.  Boise State's Eleni Ypsilanti is third and definitely can finish second—the Broncos need that.  Richardson of Fresno is fourth, followed by Randi Grimes and Nicole McClure of New Mexico State, Weaver of Hawai'i and Utah State's Krista Larson.  Boise State senior needs to go out in style by placing—her top throw is less than four feet out of eighth place.  No Nevada or Tech throwers are in the top ten, so it's time for the Bronco women to let it fly!

 

Javelin—Here is one of Fresno's better events.  Mallory Webb and Richardson are 1-2, followed by Nevada's Appanaitis and Megan Lytle, Hawai'i's Wichmann and Idaho's Kate Buehler, Anne Barnett and Candace Knuths.  Boise State has no throwers in the top ten and the Broncos will really be hurt by this. 

 

   


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